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Posts posted by Sony

  1. Yep, grilled cheese, scrambled/over hard eggs were my starts. I was really moving up when I could make an egg over easy :raz: .

    I think my first big meal cooking attempt was the Campbell's mushroom soup/chicken/rice casserole. With broccoli spears. I was SO happy that it turned out OK. I think I forgot to salt the chicken, but the canned soup was so salty, I don't think it mattered to my family that much. I was 9.

    Coming off of that "success", I begged my father to buy me a Chinese cookbook from the dollar store and cooked an entire meal from it for my immediate family (and an aunt and uncle who were visiting). Egg Foo Young made with canned bean sprouts. "Gravy" that was simply canned beef broth, cornstarch slurry and a dash of soy sauce. I can't believe they ate it without gagging. :blink:

  2. Small fish are very well-suited for Bengali curries(the water of the Bengali delta is filled with dozens of varieties of small fish that are caught and cooked).

    The basic steps for any curry are to saute large amount of onion and a little ginger with some salt in neutral oil over medium heat till very soft, then add ground cumin, corriander, cayenne and turmeric and gently fry the spices till fragrant. Stir in the fish, add a little water, and cook over medium heat until the sauce reduces/thickens and the fish are done.

    I didn't put amounts because it depends how much fish you add, whether you want to add vegetables/potatoes, etc. I can give a better ballpark based on weight.

  3. I made a basic lentil soup, the kind that reminds you how good simple food can be. Lentils, water, plenty of salt, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, and garlic. Stirred in some super fresh turnip greens from the farmers' market, fresh marjoram and some lemon juice to finish. Totally satisfying on a cool fall day.

    Another find at the farmers' market this week was some fresh garlic- I think I'd like to make garlic soup for the 1st time. I've seen dozens of variations- cooking liquid (broth, water, wine), thickeners (bread, cheese, egg), etc. Any versions people can personally recommend?

  4. Are  you specifially hoping to get a softshell lobster for any reason, or is that just what they're offering?  They should be priced much less than hardshells (and usually for the reason that they're not as good).

    No truly special reason- just that I'm celebrating an event this weekend, and my local market has them coming in only one day, so I thought I might give it a go. Pricing is $7.99/#, so I wouldn't consider it a steal.

    If it's something of a delicacy, though, I'd treat myself and figure out the best method to use it as fully as possible.

    Interesting about the texture difference, Bob. Maybe I've been lucky, but unless it's been overcooked in soup/stew, lobster never struck me as particularly tough.

    And Fern, I'm living in Upstate NY, so I think we're talking about the same thing :wink: . Thanks for the tip about picking the feisty ones- I've never chosen one and could use the advice!

  5. Hi All,

    Thinking about picking up a soft shell lobster for a special dinner this weekend. If anyone has any tips on how to pick a good one, please share the advice- I could use it!

    But my main question is whether the soft shell variety could be used to produce bisque. Since this is a special purchase, I'd like to make sure I can make the most of it. Especially since soft shells are supposed to contain less meat than hard shells.....

    Words of wisdom or caution would be greatly appreciated- thanks!

  6. As far as I know, bleached tripe actually IS soaked in a solution that makes it whiter and more visually appealing. However, I think it is a hydrogen peroxide solution, not sodium hypochlorite (aka chlorine bleach).

    Interesting that it's done 3 times.....maybe someone else can weigh in on this bleaching process and how it really goes down.

  7.   eileen said "yeah some date going to the library then grocery shopping".

    This sounds like the perfect date to me!!

    I second that! I've learned so much about people (and had fun doing it!) from what they read and how they shop for groceries. Isn't that the point of dating?

    My shopping habits have changed since I finished school and started a travel-heavy job. I used to shop frequently, almost every other day, while I was in school (starting sophomore year of college) because there was flexibility between classes. Cooking and food shopping were "built-in breaks" because you HAD to eat, right? And even though I certainly didn't NEED to spend 2 hours shopping for and preparing food, somehow I could justify that better than spending 2 hours going to see a film or concert (especially since the extra time might be spent processing less expensive "whole" foods into "convenience" foods, like breaking down whole chickens, making stock, etc.- money wasn't too plentiful during school).

    Now, I've become something of a freezer junkie. Really nice-quality meat can be bought frozen from local producers around my new digs in upstate NY, but usually in larger amounts than I might be used to. Being on the road every few days, I often find that I may not be home on a schedule that would allow me to finish a quart of milk before it expires. So, it becomes a white sauce that goes into a frozen pasta dish that I can take for lunch when I'm actually in the office. Same with many fresh vegetables. I know in my mind that it's probably just as well for me to buy frozen vegetables (the ones that don't suffer too much in quality)...

    But the thing is, I LIKE grocery shopping! I like that even when I'm tired, I still want to find something fresh to cook and eat, and that can still be a priority for me at this stage of my life. In fact, I actually fear that the inclination will go away if I stop making it a habit. Having a 24-hour Wegmans in close proximity helps a lot....but that's another change in the way I grocery shop. Later hours. It's not unusual for me to head out at 10 PM for groceries.

    That being said, 2 weeks may pass before I make it to a grocery store. The perk about driving around (often rural) upstate NY is that 3 out of 4 seasons, there's tons of roadside stands with fresh produce that's grown hardly any distance from where you pay. That's become my "new way" to grocery shop on a frequent basis. Combine that fresh stuff with a few pantry or frozen goods, and I'm settling into my new way of grocery shopping.

  8. Miso soup with no tofu in it, but lots of green onions sliced in. Mmmm.

    I wish my PMS cravings were so virtuous :raz: ....

    I get serious salt cravings. Parmesan fricos. Grilled cheese. (Or, if there's no bread, a chunk of melted cheese will do just fine!) French fries. Fried chicken with Sriracha or Marie Sharp's.

    Sometimes, for variety, I throw in a salty-sweet combo. Salty caramel. Chocolate-dipped pretzels. Blue cheese with fruit chutney on crackers. But the salt must remain present.

    I think my most unreal PMS-driven indulgence has been the gribenes from an ENTIRE duck. Eaten in 1 night. Oy.

    ETA: Oh yes, and I certainly didn't dilute the cracklins' by sprinkling them on salad or something equally healthy. Straight up.

  9. Since we were right across the street, a lot of people were wandering over there for short stints. Me, I hauled my butt over as soon as the last presentation ended on the day before I was leaving to do an hour-long "exploratory" visit (e.g. What do I prioritize to cram into my suitcase?)  :wink:

    you put a bluefish in your suitcase for the ride from here to ithaca?

    that is some serious dedication.

    Guilty again. Can't find bluefish much in these parts. It was a plane ride back, not a car ride. My last extreme food packing adventure was 4 raw beef tongues...but that's another story.

    The fish wasn't so much a problem as the roe- since it was packed in a plastic container with a snap-on lid, some of the egg sacs burst with the change in pressure on the flight back, and there was a little...um...leakage.

    Again, this was where the secure wrapping of the packages by the kind staff at John Yi's saved me. The plastic container was wrapped in paper, put in a plastic bag, and that bundle was tied in a bag with ice. This whole shebang was put into a plastic grocery bag and tied tightly. There you are- packing fish roe for a plane ride 101!

    If this was NOT a direct flight back, I probably wouldn't have had the guts!

    My friends call me "weird" and "crazy"- I prefer "dedicated"!

  10. Thanks so much for replying everyone  :biggrin:

    I've also noticed that most chefs use grapeseed oil and so I've been interested about it for awhile. Does it have a high smoking point? I do like that it's supposed to be entirely flavourless.

    About the canola oil, this seems to be one of the most popular ones that people use. Does it have any trans-fats? Are its health benefits average compared to the others?

    MomOfLittleFoodies: How was the rice bran oil compared to the canola oil? I'd like to know more about the rice bran oil and it's benefits. Is it relatively more expensive?

    andiesenji: The avocado oil is of particular interest to me from the variety you use. Is it relatively expensive? Would it more healthy than say, the coconut oil?

    Hest 88 mentioned this, but the only natural source of trans fat in our foods is from animal sources (small amounts on meat in milk). The majority of trans fat in American diets comes from eating partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which allows it to be solid at room temperature. To my understanding, no liquid oil from a plant source naturally contains trans fat.

    Taking out partially hydrogenated options, the health benefits of plant-based oils mainly come from the proportions of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat. The proportion is important because just about any liquid plant-based oil has the same amount of TOTAL fat in it. (There are other reasons some people appreciate certain health benefits of certain oils, and I'd love to hear about them!) In general, monounsaturated fats are considered the most "heart-healthy" because they have the most anti-inflammatory qualities and beneficial effects on cholesterol.

    Saturated and trans fats are known to have negative health effects, though there's debate about 1. which of the two is "worse", and 2. if there's distinctions between the different types of saturated fats e.g. the saturated fat in coconut/palm oil vs the saturated fat that comes from lard.

    So in general, for health reasons, people may want to choose:

    1. the oil that has the most unsaturated fat in it, especially monounsaturated fat, in relation to saturated fat. (assuming that you're avoid sources of trans fat) and

    2. oils that have high smoke points so that oils don't go beyond their smoke point to produce undesirable byproducts (not to mention ruined food! :wink: )

    Smithy and others bring up great points about omegas- the hard part is that these components don't show up on food labels consistently.

  11. I was in Philadelphia for a conference for 4 days.

    American Dietetic Association, perchance?

    Guilty :laugh: . I figure that there must be a few conventions going on simultaneously in Philadelphia on any given day, but I probably gave myself away as a public health dietitian by referring to the market as a valuable community resource. (vs 'a really great place to buy groceries!')

    Since we were right across the street, a lot of people were wandering over there for short stints. Me, I hauled my butt over as soon as the last presentation ended on the day before I was leaving to do an hour-long "exploratory" visit (e.g. What do I prioritize to cram into my suitcase?) :wink:

    This is where the kindness of the vendors really shone through. Larry at Martin's set aside the sausages in the freezer so they could serve as ice packs for my other groceries. Andrea set aside the cheese I wanted to buy so I could swing through and pick up without having to wait a long time. Everyone was perfectly willing to wrap things up with ice.

    But comparing the Ithaca market to the RTM is unfair to both.

    Agree. Poor expression of my thoughts. I didn't want to discount the esteem in which I hold the Ithaca Farmers' Market, but Reading is unique and another valuable (abeit different) community asset....

    em, I mean, great place to buy groceries. :raz: Ithaca really doesn't have a public market, and I wish I had the opportunity to visit Headhouse. Next time.... :wink: .

  12. I was in Philadelphia for a conference for 4 days. Before I left yesterday, I hit Reading Terminal, made my rounds, and bought entirely too much food to bring back to Ithaca, NY. Though Ithaca’s Farmers’ Market is great, Philadelphians are incredibly fortunate to have such a great resource in the community.

    The produce spread at Iovine Brothers is incredible! Got an oyster mushroom grab bag, turnip greens, escarole, a red bell pepper, scallions, and prune plums. At OK Lee, I picked up a bag of limes. A few habaneros from Fair Foods finished up my produce purchases.

    In my state of meat deprivation (I've decided to abstain from all flesh except for fish for a month), I bought chicken sausage at Martin’s (one of each variety), and hanger steak, turkey scrapple and bulk lamb sausage at Guinta’s. Oh yes, and a smoked turkey leg at Godshall's. How nice it is to actually talk with true butchers, and friendly ones at that! I’ve never had scrapple so I’ll give it a shot in 2 weeks….

    At John Yi’s, I bought a bluefish for dinner tonight, and in an adventurous state, also picked up one of their “special” packages of whiting roe. The fish was beautifully cut and fresh (I simply roasted it over potatoes per Hazan directions). I'll cook the roe later tonight for dinner tomorrow.

    I had a lovely time chatting with Andrea at Downtown Cheese and bought a sliver of Beaufort d’Alpage Chalet. She kindly also sent me home with samples of Brie des Meaux and Epoisse.

    In any case, this was my RESTRAINED shopping list! I'm hoping to make my way there again soon! :biggrin:

  13. So tongue eaters--which method do you prefer--corned or brined, or braised?

    What's the texture and taste of the braised?  I only have the pickly taste in my sense memory, so I'm curious about braised tongue--does it have  a stronger or gamier taste, or just a beefy, meaty--in my case buffaloey taste?

    I don't think it's gelatinous at all so it won't break down the same way as a pot roast--so I need enlightenment....please!


    I've never had it pickled, but I can vouch for the beefiness of a tongue braise! I don't think it's gamey so long as it's prepared properly. I soak it in vinegar water for a few hours, rinse, plop it in a pot of fresh cold water, bring it up to a boil, drain, then simmer in a new pot of salted water until tender with some aromatics- carrot, onion studded with cloves, celery, bay leaves, etc. (for me, a 4 # tongue will be right after about 2 hours.) Let it rest a little,"skin" it,and slice it up! It might be just fine with less work (I bet it could be pressure cooked in no time!), but I don't consider it much work for such tastiness.

    The texture is like a very dense piece of meat- the back end of the tongue is heavily marbled/pocketed with fat, while the tip is a bit leaner. To me, tongue is awfully rich- a little goes a long way. If you have any leftover, it can be sauteed till slightly crisped and brown on the outside with some onions and spices for an awesome taco filling or hash!

  14. Just tried the 5-course menu tonight. Overall, in my humble opinion, good, almost great, but not quite there. My thoughts:

    Bread service produced a small slice with a slightly sweet crust- very good, would have been improved if it was warm. Sauce came alongside that reminded me a lot of chimichurri. They did well by including a small spoon to re-emulsify the sauce and drizzle vs. dunk.

    1st course: Crab sausage on beluga lentils with mustard sauce. Good, but a little salty. I think a squeeze of lemon or something acid would have pointed the flavor up.

    2nd course: Marlin on braised chard (there was also a quail option.) The fish was nicely cooked, left rare in the middle, with a sauce that tasted like it was spiked with dark soy (richly sweet and salty). Definitely on the better side of average, but not mind-blowing.

    Salad of frisee, roquefort, candied walnuts and dried cranberries. I think the nuts were a little sugar-heavy- would have preferred if they only had a slight glaze instead of the thick granular coating, especially since there was already sweetness from the dried cranberries. Well-balanced vinaigrette, but the greens seemed a little overdressed.

    4th course: Swordfish on pea ragout with golden chantrelles. (other options: a red snapper with fingerlings and romanesco, and a mahi-mahi with marinated tomatoes.)

    The swordfish...now THIS is what I'm talkin' about :biggrin: . One of the best pieces of swordfish I've ever had, maybe ever period. Perfectly cooked, slightly salty, but balanced by the sweetness of the peas and the slight smokiness of the sauteed mushrooms. Yum.

    Dessert (this I took home and just finished)- chocolate truffle cake with caramel sauce. The cake itself was pretty standard- probably would have preferred it warm. It was sauced with one-dimensional caramel. If it had been a little darker to bring a bitter edge, or sprinkled with a little salt, or infused with citrus peel, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Instead, I ended up scraping most of the caramel aside.

    For $30 after tax, not bad. In such a tiny space, I got to see a lot of the kitchen action, which was both positive and negative. On the plus side, the 2 chefs hardly spoke 2 words to each other but were totally in sync. It was cool to watch their non-verbal communication. On a less positive note, one of them continually used the same spoon to dip into several pots/pans for tasting. I know this may happen more often than we like to think, but I just don't like watching it happen. My brain couldn't help cringing with a silent, 'Ew'.

    Service was very nice and accommodating (prompt call back for reservation, friendly but not overbearing during the meal.)

  15. I have some uncooked lamb, uncooked tilapia, and roasted chicken that need to be used and find a home in something.

    I am tired of the jambalaya and fried rice route for using up leftovers.  Any suggestions?

    Thanks :smile:

    Is Asian of any sort still OK?

    I'd thinly slice the lamb, velvet it and make Mongolian lamb.

    The fish, I'd make into a red Thai curry.

    Chicken? I'd slice it up and make bahn mi. Or wrap it into summer rolls

    Not all in the same dish, but I find that when I cook Asian dishes, meat often tends to stretch a lot....

  16. Hi all,

    What's a girl to do with about a dozen beautiful fresh cherry peppers? My only exposure to cherry peppers in any form thus far has been from a jar in an Italian deli, so ideas would be much appreciated!

  17. Growing up, I never had oatmeal cooked in water- always 100% milk as the cooking liquid.

    My latest variations:

    -adding extracts beyond vanilla (a drop of almond extract + a small swirl of raspberry jam is SO good)

    -subbing a bit of the milk with coconut milk (achevres, I'm going to add cinnamon and citrus peel next time- genius!)

    -caramelized bananas on top (decadent enough to be a dessert!)

  18. Lessons learned today:

    The blade on an immersion blender does not stop the second you turn off the power.

    Blood from an index finger can squirt 4', and yes, blood does stain walls.

    It is really hard to type without one's index finger.

    I pitched the mayo I was making and realized that Hellman's is much safer.


    Hope you heal quickly....Hellmann's will be good for most anything, especially if it spares a finger!

  19. Congee with a bit of miso, chanterelle mushrooms, chicken breast, rice wine vinegar, red chili paste, and green onions.


    It was my first time making congee. Well, I'd made it overnight (erm... sorta, as I went to bed at four am) in my crockpot, had some with brown sugar and syrup for breakfast. Kept it warm all day in the crockpot (had set it on eight hours/slow) and fixed it up for dinner. My husband had never eaten congee before. He liked it. Score.  :biggrin:

    Edited to add: sorry for the crappy pic. It was taken with my cell phone cam, as my digital camera's batteries were dead.  :hmmm:

    I feel a cold coming on...and THAT'S what I want right now! The comfort factor comes shining through, even with a cell phone picture.

  20. OK, I need convincing one way or another..... :biggrin:

    Picked up a Cucina Pro folding food slicer or clearance for $15. I can't seem to find any reviews online.....anyone have experience with it?

    I like the idea of slicing my own meats for sandwiches, getting a thin slice on home-cured stuff etc., but up until now, I've survived quite successfully WITHOUT one. (I have a small food processor with a slicer blade for potatoes and vegetables). My kitchen is running out of shelf space.....

    On the other hand, I figure that $15 is barely more than a new serrated knife from a kitchen supply store. And there's shelf space in other areas of my apartment.....

    So, I think that performance is going in influence my decision. $15 could go towards something hat works better if this is a piece of junk. Before I give it a try myself....thoughts? :unsure:

    ETA: Link to what I bought: http://www.amazon.com/CucinaPro-1710-Fold-...r/dp/B0009T00CU

  21. Never had Inner Beauty, but the recipe looks great and I think I'd like to give it a shot!

    3 questions:

    1. Yellow mustard- meaning prepared mustard? (like French's)

    2. What is the flavor of palm vinegar like?

    3. How do you store the sauce? If it's shelf-stable, I'm thinking about making a collection of hot sauces as holiday gifts and may want this in the lineup :wink: ......

  22. Thanks v. gautam! I went ahead and, like you, experimented. My concoction:

    shredded cabbage

    shredded carrot

    chopped shitake mushrooms

    julienned red bell peppers

    sliced scallions

    chopped cilantro

    grated ginger

    minced garlic

    hoisin sauce

    dark soy sauce

    rice wine

    toasted sesame oil

    Cooked to get off as much liquid as possible before rolling and frying. It turned out great! :biggrin: Next time, I might add a little cornstarch to bind the inside mix just a tiny bit more....

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